Highlights 2009-2010

During ReMIND’s first year, the young scientists involved hosted and participated in numerous events, including monthly journal clubs, the first Emerging Scientists Symposium, walks to support disease research, and outreach events at local schools.

Over 150 people attended the first Annual Emerging Scientists Symposium in March of 2010, with 18 graduate student and post doctoral speakers and a keynote address from Dr. Rudi Tanzi, the Joseph P. and Rose F. Kennedy Professor of Neurology at Harvard University. Students discussed an impressive array of topics relating to neurodegeneration, including cardiovascular risks, the contributions of inflammation and stress, the benefits of stem cells, and protein aggregation in Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. The day-long symposium was held at the UCI Student Center.

ReMIND also hosted a round table discussion with Dr. Claudia Kawas, a prominent neurologist at UC Irvine and leader of the 90+ Study. Graduate students were able to ask questions about Dr. Kawas’ research, and learn from her how she reached the successful position she is in today. We were fortunate to receive her advice on decision-making along the scientific career path and thank her for also presenting each attendee with the book “Advice to a Young Scientist” by P.B. Medawar.

In another effort to provide guidance to young scientists, ReMIND hosted a career panel of three successful scientists in different fields: Dr. Brian Cummings, Associate Professor at UCI, Dr. Veena Viswanath, Senior Scientist at Allergan, and Dr. Dan Keys, Patent Agent at Beckman Coulter. Young scientists had an unique opportunity to ask questions about entry into these fields, the work involved in each position, and  salary and lifestyle, which are important concerns for graduate students! We received a lot of positive feedback about this event and hope to continue the panel in future years.

The graduate students of ReMIND also ventured outside of UCI to participate in numerous volunteer activities. We brought human and sheep brains to the “Astounding Innovations Fair,” where K-12 kids could come and learn about the brain, and get to touch one! We help raise awareness of Alzheimer’s disease at the Memory Walk in Dana Point, encouraging people to sign the Alzheimer’s Breakthrough Act to present to Congress in support of increased funding for Alzheimer research. Similarly, we joined the Team Hope at the Orange County HD Walk for the Cure, to raise awareness about Huntington’s disease and the current status of research for a cure.